In the world of surface waterproofing, a variety of materials can be used. For homeowners looking to perform regular maintenance, they might use epoxy or plastic sheets as a temporary solution. These materials are easy to apply but do not last for several years.
Instead, a professional waterproofing contractor would use a waterproofing membrane to protect a building from water ingress. Simply put, a waterproofing membrane is a layer of material that is nearly waterproofed when in good condition.
Types of Waterproofing Membranes
There are two primary types of waterproofing membranes – sheet & liquid membranes. Each has a different installation method and usage. In this article, we shall cover an overview of each.
Sheet Based Waterproofing Membrane Systems
As the name suggests, sheet-based membranes come in rolls of sheets. Each can be rolled out to cover the surface which is to be waterproofed. To ensure that the membrane sticks to the surface, heat is applied to its adhesive material. This bonds the membrane to the surface.
Other than sticking the membrane to the surface, waterproofing professionals also have to bond together multiple sheets. This is also done via heat, thus sealing off any gaps that may have existed between sheets of the membrane.
The advantage of using sheet based waterproofing membranes lies in the speed and relative ease of application. Sheets can be unrolled and heated up at a fast rate, making them suitable for large open areas.
However, this strength is also its weakness as the sheets are premanufactured in standard sizes. As such, application to narrow or non-uniformed width areas becomes difficult. Additionally, if a surface has protrusions, a sheet based membrane will perform poorly as pockets of air space may form below it.
Liquid Based Waterproofing Membrane Systems
Liquid based waterproofing membranes provide the upside of being much more flexible than sheet based membrane systems. The key characteristic here is its liquid form can be freely applied to any surface.
Once a waterproofing professional has applied it to a surface using a roller brush, heat is also used to bond it to the surface. However, unlike sheets, as a liquid, it can cover any protrusions or irregularly shaped spaces.
On the downside is that it requires much more time and effort to be effectively applied. While sheets have a fixed length, width and height, the same cannot be said for liquids. The waterproofing contractor will have to ensure a uniform application of the membrane when using the roller brush.
Failing to achieve an equal surface will result in water penetrating certain areas of the membrane. Given this challenge, more time is required to cover the entire surface while ensuring that standards are adhered to.